Actress Lucy Roucis: Surgery, Sex and Courage

Lucy Roucis, a regular with Phamaly (Physically Handicapped Amateur Musical Actor's League)both as a performer and an acting coach, has Parkinson’s. Although she’s a radiant performer, over the years you could clearly see her problems -- and the involuntary shaking -- escalating.

On Monday, Lucy finally had the brain surgery she’d been contemplating, and avoiding, for some years: deep brain stimulation, in which a battery-operated medical device called a neurostimulator is implanted to stimulate targeted areas in the brain and block abnormal nerve signals. The surgery took seven hours and went well, according to an e-mail from her boyfriend Patrick Shelton, though there are more procedures to be endured in the future. At the moment, the tremors seem to be decreasing, and Lucy’s fine motor skills increasing.

Lucy has always approached her illness with lucidity and humor. Here’s a stand-up routine she’s performed several times on the pros and cons of Parkinson’s, part of which we printed two years ago, when Phamaly was rehearsing The Wiz:

Pro: Killer parking spaces.

Con: Inability to drive to killer parking spaces.

Pro: Having so much movement from medication and burning calories you can eat anything you want.

Con: Except soup.

Pro: Never being asked to babysit.

Con: Offering to hold the kid for just a minute and watching him end up in a tree.

Pro: Having a great excuse for looking like a nervous wreck.

Con: Looking like a nervous wreck.

Pro: Being able to do some really wonderful volunteer work.

Con: Having to hire someone to help you do the wonderful volunteer work.

Pro: Mixing a mean margarita.

Con: Wearing that mean margarita.

Pro: Superstrength sexual muscles.

Con: Superstrength sexual muscles.

-- Juliet Wittman

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